How to Brew a Green Tea?
Below are the most popular green tea concoctions on the planet today, its origins, and how you can make the most of each one:
Jasmine Green Tea
One of the most famous green teas is jasmine green tea. The wonderful concoction started in 17th century China under the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1912). History-wise, the Great Qing was the last dynasty to rule China. It was notable for the explosion of exports (e.g., tea, ceramics, cotton), the annexation of Taiwan, and ceding of Hong Kong to the British as a result of the Opium War of 1840. Without a shadow of a doubt, jasmine tea is 100% green tea. However, unlike many Japanese tea variants, jasmine is a flavored tea. Sometimes, jasmine blossoms are included as part of the product. If you really want to maximize the floral fragrance, choose jasmine green tea with the jasmine blossoms included.
Steep choice jasmine tea at 175 degrees Fahrenheit or 79.5 degrees Celsius for about 2 to 4 minutes. Longer than that and you should enjoy more of the jasmine taste and scent.
JAPANESE SENCHA GREEN TEA
Right off the bat, Japan is the most widely-used green tea in Japan. About 80% of tea production in this Asian country is sencha tea. Sencha actually means “tea infused in water” in English. It’s highly likely that if you visit Japan, you’re served sencha green tea. What makes organic sencha a top choice is its sweet yet grassy flavor that speaks of summer and pine fruit.
Most tea drinkers choose to steam sencha briefly before actual processing. As a result, the concoction turns yellow in color with a strong vibrant flavor. The longer you steam sencha, the darker the color becomes allowing the bolder earthly flavor to be much more pronounced.
If you have loose leaves, make sencha by steeping these leaves at temperatures of 170 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit or 76.5-79.5 degrees Celsius for about a minute. You can also choose to brew at lesser temperatures (165 degrees F) for a minute and a half to arrive at a mellower flavor.
Matcha Green Tea
If you want it strong, then matcha could be just for you. As a full-bodied green tea, this tea preparation comes from special finely powdered tea leaves. As these leaves are shade-grown more often than not and the process of making a powdered tea meticulous, matcha tea commands a higher price than most.
But it could be all worth it as you will have to ingest the tea essence along with the liquid. That means you’re actually getting the most nutritional value you can find in any green tea. Taste-wise you’ll find the initial taste to be vegetal and astringent that should mature into a seamless lingering sweetness.
Historically, matcha origins can be traced to Imperial China during the Tang Dynasty (7th to 10th centuries). For easier transport, tea leaves were steamed to form bricks. Said bricks were formed by roasting then pulverizing the tea leaves, adding water and salt to the powder.
Ready hot water (175 degrees F or 79.5 degrees C) ideally in a wide-brimmed bowl. Add a teaspoon of the powder and whisk until you arrive at a foamy layer. Traditionally, people use a bamboo whisk called a Chasen. But without that, a large spoon should do. Start whisking from the bottom up for best results.
Genmaicha Green Tea
As legend would have it, the Genmaicha infusion started when Buddhist monks accidentally mixed their green tea with rice that’s browned left inside kitchen cauldrons. And so Genmaicha tradition of rice started, a full-bodied green tea that’s a combination of tea leaves and popped rice seeds bringing about an unmistakable tasty flavor.
If you’re a coffee-lover, Genmaicha should suit your tastes to a T. It’s a perfect combination. If you’re a connoisseur you’ll notice that the toasty flavor unique to rice tones down the astringent qualities common to tea.
For best results, steep Genmaicha in 175 to 185 degrees F (79.5 to 85 degrees C) for about two minutes.
Gunpowder Green Tea
Gunpowder green tea can be easily identified by its form. As each tea leaf is rolled, it resembles a small pellet (gun). It’s not hard to understand how this tea got its name as it resembles the grains of gunpowder of old. As it’s circular, it’s also called “pearl tea” or zhū chá.
Again, this tea dates back to the Tang Dynasty of China. Then, it was common for each tea leaf to be rolled by hand. Today, only the highest-grade of gunpowder teas are hand-rolled, fetching astronomical prices in the process. By rolling these leaves, these tea concoctions are easier to transport while their flavor is wisely retained.
Gunpowder tea is bold for the most part. And you’ll sip into slightly smoky flavor tea that leaves oaky notes.
Ideally, you should use 158 to 176 degrees F (70 to 80 degrees C) hot water for gunpowder tea. No need to throw your tea leaves on the first try as you can brew them multiple times. Take a minute for the first two steeping processes. However, steep a little longer for the third.
Gyokuro Green Tea
Taste shaded green tea from Japan. Literally, Gyukoro means “jade dew” in Japanese. And it’s but apt. Before being harvested, the tea shrubs are covered from the hot sun for 3 to 6 weeks. That should boost chlorophyll production as well as other nutrients.
The preparation is distinct for its strong, fully-flavored vegetal notes and body. Many tea drinkers encounter a taste of the “sea” denoting a hint of seaweed.
What you should remember is Gyokuro needs a little lower string temperature than most tea. We’re talking about 122 to 140 degrees F (50 to 60 degrees Celsius) steeping temperature in about three minutes. Or you can just wait for the leaves to unfurl. That should be your cue the tea is ready to go.
Longjing (Dragon Well) Green Tea
If you’re looking for a most famous tea concoction then Longjing or Dragon Well tea should be top of your list. Long dubbed as the highest quality hand-produced green tea, this preparation originates from Longjing Village in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China.
Right from the get-go, expect the above-usual price tags when scouring for Longjing. Although, there may still be Longjing with excellent tastes but at relatively affordable prices.
What makes it stand out is its full body nutty flavor that nutty yet sweet. Plus, there are the vegetal undertones to linger in your mouth. It’s highly likely you think of chestnuts and sweet pea when taking a sip of Longjing.
Steep in hot water with temperatures at 167-176 degrees F (75-80 degrees C) for one to three minutes but no more.
Mint Green Tea
For a cool mint flavor, sip on mint green tea. Enhanced by the addition of chopped mint, you can’t mistake the fragrance of this green tea. Not only is it invigorating and refreshing, but mint green tea also has a sweet aroma and taste. Best of all, you may not have to add sweeteners just to get this tea going.
As it enhances the revitalizing prowess of tea, mint is both calming and soothing at the same time. In short, it enhances the stimulating qualities of green tea.
Know that mint tea is stylishly Moroccan in origin and is the only green tea on this list not from Asia but from North Africa. The Spanish people dubbed this tea the “Moorish tea”.
For best results, steep at 170 degrees F (76.5 degrees C) for not more than three minutes. Alternatively, you can use cold water and steep it overnight.